Premier agent spotlight: Planning important to allow aging in place

June 16, 2017 GMT

Those age 55 and up currently have the highest rate of homeownership in the country - about 80 percent, according to a Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies 2016.

Most of those in this group continue to live in single-family homes, which may not be suited for the disabilities some will experience.

The Harvard report focused upon three of the most important accessibility features that permit homeowners to move safely around their living spaces.

Those included entrances without steps, single-floor living, and wider hallways and doorways (34 inches) that would permit wheelchair bound individuals easy access.

“Less than 4 percent of homes in the U.S. market offer all of these features,” said Jennifer Mollinsky, a senior Harvard research associate.

If one considers two additional features for aging in place - lever-handled doors and lower placed electrical wall switches and outlets - less than 1 percent of homes in the U.S. market would qualify fully for those wishing to age in place.


According to the National Association of Home Builders, the most common aging-in-place modifications are bathroom grab bars and higher toilets, followed by roll-in showers and 34-inch doorways.

The latter features are considered by architects and builders, to be “universal design” elements that promote independent living.

While these elements are essential for some older or disabled persons, they are also useful for all.

For example, not having entryway stairs to climb, is very helpful to young families with toddlers and trying to carry strollers, and tricycles, along with grocery or school bags.

“In general, older adults appear to be ardent remodelers. Those over 55 often account for the majority of home improvement projects and spending, according to the Harvard study,” said Leora Kahn, a Realtor with Bernstein Realty.

Still, for those homeowners who are overwhelmed with the thought of renovating their homes, Kahn and Bernstein Realty Inc., are delighted to assist them in locating and purchasing their new home, one which is capable of meeting their individual budgets, needs, styles, and physical challenges.

Whether it is a one-story ranch-style home, a patio home or condominium with an elevator, 24-hour concierge service, valet parking and numerous other amenities, Kahn looks forward to working with individuals and families of all ages.

Kahn practiced law for more than 20 years before making a career move into real estate, even though she was a successful attorney. She is known for putting her client’s needs first, being up-to-date on the market, and for her honesty, sincerity and dependability.

Kahn has a high rate of return clients and also works with many transferees to the greater Houston area.